PART EIGHT: THE BEYOND
Although Director Shaw had allocated the Space-Time division team in charge of the Top Secret ‘Machine’ Project a budget to conduct further explorations of the timeless void Avery traveled to whenever she used her quantum jumping abilities, ironically, Avery was not to be involved in the Project in whatever shape or form.
The Director had instead ordered Avery to perform her other Protector duties until further notice while the two-person team in charge of the project, Dr. Paisley Clarke and Aurora Alison, were allocated resources including additional personnel to investigate exactly where it was Avery traveled to and its potential risks and gains.
In order to safely explore the void, the team had to initiate quantum jumping in test subjects which was an Uphill task on its own but even after they were able to achieve substantial results, they were no closer to understanding the timeless void than at the beginning of the experiment.
What was worse was that the test subjects, who did not possess quantum jumping abilities, often were adversely affected by going into the timeless void with effects ranging from the physiological (such as migraines, vomiting and extreme fatigue) to psychological (such as dissociative disorders caused by time being away from Present Reality and other psychological and psychiatric disorders such as Clinical Depression caused by reliving painful, repressed and suppressed memories).
Aurora and Director Shaw hated to admit it but it appeared that Avery was the only person they knew with quantum jumping abilities that was not as adversely affected by spending any measure of time within the timeless void. They both were however, as stubborn and adamant as ever in their denial to use Avery as a test subject for further experimentation.
Avery was often so overloaded with work that she never found a chance to try and reenter the void. For weeks, she unsuccessfully tried to convince the Director and Aurora to simply allow her to test out her abilities but they would not have it. Her days continued to drag out and her concern for future experimentation on her son grew so much that it began to invade her dreams.
One night as Avery slept, she began to have nightmares concerning her son so much that they soon escalated into night terrors. Before long, the night terrors triggered her abilities and she found herself in the Timeless void without meaning to.
The Timeless void offered Avery peace and she felt refreshed observing her thoughts and memories passing by whilst losing her sense of time altogether as always. Avery began to wonder how the Void would help her reach an Alternate Reality.
Avery let her imagination run wild then. Although she was not a scientist, she knew that an Alternate Reality would be vastly different from anything she had ever encountered in her Present Reality. Time spent in the alternate realities her own son had created had proven as much. The memories of those alternate realities had almost entirely faded from memory and Avery was curious to understand why that was…
The more she observed the memories of the previous alternate realities she had become a part of, the more they reshaped and eventually faded in Avery’s mind. Was it because the Alternate Realities no longer existed, Avery wondered?
Could the key to exploring alternate realities lie in somehow connecting to them on a conscious level? Given that Avery had never visited any of the possible Alternate Realities, how would she be able to connect with them on a Conscious level?
Avery reminded herself that she had traveled to the two alternate realities her son had created even without having visited them before thus her quantum abilities being created in the first place. She then grew confident in that theoretically, it was possible for her to connect to Alternate Realities and that the timeless void would somehow help her achieve it but the how was anyone’s guess.
Was it a simple case of Mind Over Matter? Would Avery be able to travel to these Alternate Realities simply by thinking that it was possible? To protect Blaize, she needed to try. Avery thought that perhaps the only way to do so was to remove all ‘reality anchors’ which were, according to her, any thoughts and memories keeping her ‘stuck’ in her Present Reality.
To achieve this level of mindfulness seemed nearly impossible but inevitably, Avery was able to achieve as close to absolute mindfulness as she could by focusing on all her atoms, scattered ever so blissfully in the Timeless Void. This total concentration allowed her to see, with her mind’s eye, all the endless possibilities that comprised of Alternate Realities.
Like the Universes of her present Reality, Alternate Realities were infinite. Avery just had to pick one at random which she did using the old children’s rhyme of eeny-meeny-miney-mo. Avery finally settled on observing an Alternate Reality that seemed closer in ‘resemblance’ to her Present Reality.
The more she allowed her mind to perceive the possibility presented to her of her chosen Alternate Reality, the closer it appeared to get to her. Avery suddenly realized that the Universe Consciousness of the Alternate Reality seemed to be reeling her in and she was as terrified as she was curious as to what that meant.
The Reality’s Consciousness continued to reel her in and soon, the Timeless Void opened up a portal to that world. Avery felt suddenly disoriented as her subconscious took over from her continuously scrambling conscious mind which was readjusting itself towards perceiving the Alternate Reality’s Universal Mind.
Avery soon entered the portal to the Alternate Reality and didn’t look back until she was assured that she was safely on the other side. She hoped that she could return to wherever she came from but her conscious mind could no longer recall where that was.
The Alternate Reality seemed like home to Avery whose body soon resumed a solid state. Immediately that happened, Avery collapsed to the ground, her mental energy completely depleted. Avery was awakened by the soothing sound of a rushing stream and the unmistakable and vastly uncomfortable feeling of her clothes being soaked to the bone.
Avery tried getting up on her own two feet and finally succeeded after several tries. She tried to get her bearings in the strange new world although she was still disoriented. Avery wondered where and even whom she was.
After what felt like several hours, Avery’s stomach grumbled and she sought out a food source on pure instinct alone. The entire path she trodden on was covered in wetlands with very little foliage covering the ground. Avery was disturbed by the lack of bio-diversity as well and instinctively thought that the world was somewhat incomplete for some reason.
She finally stumbled across a tree with what appeared to be a brightly colored succulent fruit. The fruit was high up on the tree but without much thought, Avery simply willed herself to reach the fruit and soon leapt to catch the fruit, floating several inches off the ground for several moments.
For those uncertain several moments, Avery was suspended in mid-air, she observed herself in awe. Could humans so easily remain suspended in the air for such a long time? Avery could not explain why she felt that it was abnormal for humans to have such abilities and wearily picked up the fruits before settling on the ground, merrily chomping down to alleviate her hunger pangs.
The fruits’ texture and flavor as their color felt off and Avery wondered whether she had made the wrong choice in picking the fruits in the first place. Her stomach growled for several moments after consuming the fruits and a dull ache followed but soon enough, settled.
Avery resumed her exploration once she felt better, wandering aimlessly across the expanse and observing the few creatures she encountered with mild awe. She stopped by a brook to drink some water and was shocked to see her own reflection wondering whether she had always appeared that way.
After several moments of just observing herself reflected in the brook’s crystal clear water, she finally accepted that she had always looked like that and shrugged off her worries. She cupped some of the water in both her hands and sipped it several times before she began to feel as if something or someone was watching her.
Avery wearily looked around her most immediate surrounding areas and saw nothing of concern and so she continued cupping water in her hands and drinking it thinking that there must have been a better way to drink water. Once she had had her fill of the water, Avery stood up and endeavored on her quest in the seemingly endless expanse before she encountered a new type of creature.
The creature stood out in contrast to everything else in the strange new world as it looked exactly like her.
“Oh Avery, thank goodness I’ve found you! I’ve been looking everywhere for you! Are you okay, honey?” the creature asked. Avery thought that the creature looked and sounded familiar and she opened up her mouth to speak to it to reassure it that she was fine but she was unable to speak.
“In a bit of shock, I assume? You poor dear. You must be so frightened. There, there come to Mama,” said the creature, extending its arms for Avery to embrace it.
Although it went against her every survival instinct, Avery was swayed by the creature’s instructions and she immediately sought to embrace it. She would soon learn what a grave mistake she’d made…
TO BE CONTINUED…
What creature has Avery stumbled upon in the strange new world she found herself in? Will Avery survive its attack? Will she find her way back to her Present Reality? Stay tuned to find out!